A new service will help employers measure how supportive their workplaces are of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees.

The Australian Workplace Equality Index is an initiative of Pride In Diversity, Australia’s employer support program for the inclusion of GLBT people in the workplace.

Pride In Diversity was developed in partnership between the AIDS Council Of NSW (ACON), the Diversity Council Australia and the British GLBT rights group Stonewall.

Pride In Diversity Director Dawn Hough said the Australian Workplace Equality Index measured the extent of inclusive human resource policies within an organisation and then rated that workplace against a national index.

Organisations seeking indexing must complete a simple survey and supply evidence of their relevant workplace policies.

Factors measured include use of GLBT-inclusive language, provision of family and other benefits to GLBT employees and same-sex couples, and how homophobia and discrimination against GLBT people is addressed within the workplace.

“Organisations will be able to use their ranking on the index as a simple and effective way to highlight the quality of their diversity practice, especially when recruiting staff,” Hough said.

“The index will also be used as an annual showcase of Australia’s top employers for LGBT people and provide valuable local statistics and benchmarking data on the inclusive practices of Australian workplaces.

“For workplaces that wish to improve their ranking, Pride In Diversity staff are able to assist with the development of policies and strategies that can better support LGBT staff.”

Hough said research showed that fear of exclusion or discrimination lead a third of GLBT employees to conceal their sexual orientation at work, leading to lower levels of engagement, team cohesion and overall productivity.

“The same research reveals that 50 percent of LGBT employees would be more committed, loyal and productive if policies and programs were introduced in their workplace that specifically supported LGBT people,” Hough said.

“This is the first time that employers will be able to access a service that not only evaluates how inclusive they are of LGBT employees, but can also help them develop workplace strategies to ensure a fair go for all their staff.”

Submissions for the inaugural Index are due before the end of March next year.

info: www.prideindiversity.com.au

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